Carols, cards, gifts and parties: the holiday spirit is in full swing this week. So we’re offering up gift options for everyone on your list and sharing a few of our favourite festive apps. We’re also talking about the Wireless Code, which came into effect on Monday, and looking at how many people have embraced the new Apple operating system.
Read all about it in this week’s edition of the weekend reading!
We decorate our homes and sometimes even our desks – so why not extend the cheer to our smartphones? This week @RogersSarahM shares her favourite Android apps for the season, including a few picks, like Mint, that will help keep you organized year-round. Plus, Rogers customers can now have their Google Play purchases billed to their monthly Rogers statement. Find out how here.
What are your holiday app picks?
I’m still hunting down the perfect finishing touches for the loved ones on my shopping list, but we’ve compiled our list of everything you need for a very Merry Tech-mas! Whether you’re looking for a smartphone with a stellar camera for your favourite shutterbug or some wearable tech to help a family member reach their fitness goals, we’ve got you covered!
What do you hope to find under the tree this holiday?
Wireless Code 101
The CRTC’s Wireless Code came into effect on Dec. 2, 2013, applying to individuals and small business customers who sign up for a new contract or renew their existing contract on or after that date. The Code makes some changes to wireless services for Canadians, including two-year plans and a cap on certain fees. We also created this handy Q&A to help explain what it means for you.
Nearly three-quarters of Apple users have upgraded to iOS 7, according to Mashable. The new operating system was released in September, updating the notification bar and adding background updates and a Control Centre where you can turn on Wi-Fi settings and open the camera. (Check out our tips for getting the most out of your keyboard with iOS7.)
Are you using the newest operating system for your device?
Santa’s elves must surely be expert programmers by now, with high-tech toys topping wishlists for children and adults alike. My mom’s holiday gift last year was a tablet, and I know my gentleman friend is hoping this year brings a shiny new Samsung Galaxy S4 under the tree.
Picking the right high-tech gift can be tricky, so start by considering your loved ones’ hobbies, then check out our recommendations to make shopping a breeze.
The shutterbug: Selfie was the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year in 2013. Even if the gadget-lover in your life isn’t busy snapping self-portraits for social media, they’re probably still part of the growing wave of people capturing memories with their smartphones. The new Nokia Lumia 1020, available in black and yellow, has a 41 megapixel camera that allows for precision zooming and cropping. The Moto X, meanwhile, is great for taking photos in a flash with its quick capture camera. You simply need to twist your wrist twice to open the camera app, then touch the screen anywhere to get the shot – fast.
The film fanatic: Buffering can ruin the power of an award-winning performance or a beautiful breakaway shot. Friends who love to watch on the go need a wireless device capable of fast network speeds to support downloading large files or streaming video. Check out the LG G2 (you can win your own on Howard Forums) and Samsung Note 3 smartphones, which are both capable of maximum theoretical download speeds of 150 mbps.
The gym rat: Both the serial marathoner and the newbie gym-goer (plus everyone in between) could enjoy a wearable fitness technology gadget. Devices like the Fitbit Flex bracelet or the Fitbit Zip track steps, distance travelled and calories burned to help you get a head start on those 2014 resolutions.
The music lover: The HTC One smartphone was an essential item for our music festival survival guide, and is sure to please the audiophile in your life. “HTC BoomSound” and dual front stereo speakers powered by Beats Audio amps mean your family members can listen to all their favourite top 100 tunes – and you can even throw in a set of headphones to make sure their soundtrack stays solo.
The outdoorsy type: Rock-climbing, hiking and mountain biking can take its toll on your tech. The Cat B15 smartphone was designed with a rugged user in mind – it can survive a fall from 1.8 metres, is dust resistant and can even be submerged under a metre of water for half an hour.
For the technophile: Coveting the latest gadget is no longer reserved just for the tech-obsessed, but for that special someone who likes to stay ahead of the curve, now’s the time to explore wearable tech. Worn on your wrist, the Samsung Galaxy Gear lets you preview messages from your device, save voice memos, make hands-free calls, take pictures, track your steps and more.
For you: After all that hard work shopping for everyone on your list, it’s about time you reward yourself. Check out more than 100 of the world’s top magazine titles on your tablet with Next Issue Canada . The all-you-can-read digital magazine service is available on iPad, Android tablets and Win8 devices, and starts at $9.99 for monthly titles plus digitized back issues. For $14.99, you can add weekly titles to your selection. Sign up now at www.nextissue.ca.
Visit Rogers.com or your local Rogers store to pick up any of the gifts on this list.
What technology has made your holiday wishlist this year?
‘Tis the season to be jolly … Sorry, is that too soon for you? I can’t help it. The winter holidays are my favourite time of the year. The crunch of snow under my feet, the decorations and lights everywhere and the carols all make me feel like a kid again.
So curl up with some warm apple cider and check out these five apps that will definitely get you in the holiday spirit.
1. A Charlie Brown Christmas ($4.99)
Everyone’s favourite Christmas special comes to life in this fun, interactive app. If you can’t wait for A Charlie Brown Christmas to air on TV every year, you’ll love this app. (It’s great to share with your kids, too!) You can even decorate your own Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
2. Mint.com (free)
While a budgeting app might not seem completely in the spirit of the season, Mint is a great way to track your spending. Most of the tracking is automatic, so you won’t need to manually enter the details of every purchase (which makes it so easy to use). Sticking to a budget means no unpleasant surprises come billing season in January.
3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas ($5.23)
Of course, the season’s other holiday classic is this Dr. Seuss tale. This interactive storybook app offers three modes: reading the book yourself, having the book read to you, or a mix of the two.
4. Any.do (free)
This is another app that’s not holiday specific, but definitely will save you from checking your list twice. Any.do is a to-do list app that syncs with your Gmail account and has a Chrome plugin so you can easily add tasks. Tasks can also be shared with others, so you can work together to get all the gifts from everyone’s lists this year.
5. The Nightmare before Christmas ($1.05)
Looking for a bit of a different spin on the holidays? This app allows you to give your device a fun Nightmare Before Christmas theme. You can customize icons, your wallpaper and dock faster than you can say Jack Skellington.
Rogers is the first Canadian provider to offer carrier billing for Google Play purchases. Instead of paying via credit card, Rogers customers can now sign up to have their Google Play purchases billed on their monthly Rogers statement. If you’ve already connected your credit card to your Google Play account, you’ll need to remove it in order to see the option for carrier billing.
Check out Google’s step-by-step instructions on paying for your Google Play purchases with carrier billing.
What apps help fuel your holiday spirit?
The CRTC’s Wireless Code comes into effect today. It applies to individual and small business customers who sign up for a new contract or renew their existing contract on or after Dec. 2, 2013. Rogers is in support of a national code, and we’re excited that Canadians now have a set of consistent standards across the country that provide equal protection to wireless customers no matter where they live.
We’ve put together this handy Q&A to help you understand what the Wireless Code means for you as a customer.
Who does the Wireless Code apply to?
The Code applies to individual and small business customers who have signed up for a new contract or renew their existing contract on or after Dec. 2, 2013.
What can I expect from the Code?
The Code sets specific requirements that all Canadian carriers must follow when it comes to key areas such as: easy to understand wireless services and fees, reasonable unlocking policies, a cap on certain fees, and the availability of online tools to monitor usage and any additional fees.
At Rogers, we have been proactive in addressing some of these areas even before the Code took effect:
- Rogers first introduced device unlocking in 2012. In March 2013, we revised our policy so that customers have the option to unlock their device sooner for a fee – as early as up to 90 days after activating the device on the Rogers network.
- We launched our new two-year term plans in August 2013, allowing our customers to upgrade to a new phone faster. Our new plans include unlimited Canada-Wide Talk and Text, and with Share Everything, you can share your plan with up to nine more devices.
- Rogers provides all customers with a welcome text message as soon as they start roaming. The message provides pay-per-use rates for voice, text messages and data use, as well as a link to purchase discounted roaming offers.
Additional changes covered by the Code:
- Roaming data overage charges for Travel Packs and roaming data pay-per-use charges will be capped at $100 per billing cycle.
- Domestic data overage charges will be capped at $50 per billing cycle.
- The 30-day cancellation notification period has been eliminated.
- Prepaid customers have a seven-day grace period, from the date their balance expires, to top up their balance and retain the unused amount.
Where can I find more information about the Code?
For more info about the code, check out the CRTC’s website here.
We’re always looking to improve the Rogers experience. With these changes, we’ll continue to work hard to deliver more value and to create a better experience for our customers.
Cyber Monday began in the United States back in 2005, and just like Black Friday, has begun increasing in popularity north of the border with more Canadian brands hopping on board.
Of course, Cyber Monday has something Black Friday doesn’t: the ability to shop from home, in your PJs if you so desire! There’s no freezing in late-night lineups or worrying about crowds, as all the deals are all just a click away.
We got some tips from Rogers TechXpert Timothy Leslie on how you can get the most out of your Cyber Monday shopping:
- Draft a wish-list: Establish what your priority purchases will be so that you’re focused on the must-have items and not swayed by all the other tempting deals (this will help you stay within budget, too!);
- Shop securely: It’s easy to get swept up in an incredible deal. To avoid being scammed, make sure you’re dealing with a legitimate retailer. If you’re not sure, check online forums and read customers’ comments about their experiences;
- Shop from anywhere: You don’t need to sit in front of a computer all day to get the best deals. Earlier this year, Google released a report saying that 27 per cent of Canadians have purchased something on their smartphone. Rogers customers will never miss a deal, thanks to devices powered by the blazing-fast LTE network –up to two times faster than any other Canadian provider.
- Join the secret society of shoppers: You can uncover many deals through your social networks. Follow brands on Facebook and Twitter to discover hot deals that may not be advertised anywhere else.
What deals did you get this Cyber Monday?
With the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season upon us, this week we’re celebrating some Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. For those of you lucky enough to have crossed all the presents off your lists, read on in this week’s edition of the Weekend Reading for more on Rogers hockey broadcast deal, the office of the future and the latest Snapchat stats.
Snapchat is the latest buzz-worthy photo-sharing service. For the uninitiated, the app allows users to send self-destructing images to their friends. The appeal? No more photos of your boyfriend’s lunches clogging up your SMS inbox and the ability to instantly see whether your friend has viewed the photo of the frock that you’re waffling on. Plus the security of knowing that if you deem that dress unflattering, the photo won’t still be floating around in cyberspace.
How popular is this new app? According to a report from Mashable, Snapchat users send 400 million “snaps” each day – more than double the number sent in June. While CEO Evan Spiegel didn’t share the size of its total user base, he did reveal that 70 per cent of their users are women.
Have you downloaded Snapchat yet?
We all know technology is changing the office environment. Whether it’s answering emails on our commutes or video-conferencing with colleagues and clients, how, when and where we work is evolving. Looking forward, the new Rogers Connected Workplace report, commissioned by Harris Decima, predicts the workplace of the future will be less centralized, more mobile and more flexible. More than half, 52 per cent, of Canadians said they would embrace a Bring Your Own Device policy, and 40 per cent said they’d prefer to do more of their work on laptops (the current leading workplace device, with 45 per cent, is the desktop).
What would you like to see in the workplace of the future?
Hurrah for hockey
Starting next season, Rogers will be your go-to for all things hockey. Rogers has scored a landmark 12-year broadcast and multimedia agreement with the National Hockey League. The agreement starts with the 2014/15 season and continues through the 2025/26 season.
This deal includes national rights, in all languages, across TV broadcasts, internet and mobile streaming, as well as all linear and digital highlights including condensed games and video archives. On any given night, Rogers will provide multiple game coverage on up to nine TV channels (including City and Sportsnet) plus digital and radio.
The deal also includes a partnership with CBC for Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts and TVA for all national French-language coverage.
Who are you cheering on this hockey season?
Hot holiday deals
True confession: I was one of those people at the mall at 6 a.m. this morning seeking Black Friday deals. The early wakeup, freezing temps and gigantic coffee is an annual tradition with one of my girlfriends, and honestly, the savings are just the icing on the cake.
While my shopping energy for the day is certainly (probably?) spent, there are still bargains to be had. When you purchase and activate a Samsung smartphone on select two-year plans before Jan. 6, you can get a Galaxy Gear for $49.99 – check out the full details at www.rogers.com/gear.
Stay tuned this weekend for our pointers on how to take advantage of all the Cyber Monday deals!
What purchases will you make this weekend?
There’s nothing more important to me than being home for the holidays. But travel during the holiday season rarely resembles the romance of Love Actually. In reality, it’s long drives in crowded carpools and delayed flights at the airport. So, when I embark on the long road home, I want my smartphone as a travel companion – but also worry about spending too much on roaming when I’m out of town. And I’m not alone, according to new research from Rogers:
- Seventy-eight per cent of Canadians would be more likely to roam if they knew exactly how much they would be charged;
- More than half of those who turn data off while travelling feel negative about the experience – twenty-nine per cent feel disconnected and out of touch if they can’t go online or use data and 28 per cent feel dependent on others for information;
- Data while travelling is important to them – eighty-one per cent of respondents who never roam admitted they see a need for data connectivity while travelling;
- Seventy-nine per cent admit to not understanding how roaming charges are incurred though most (69 per cent) know that certain activities use more data than others when roaming
- Messaging and use of maps are the most important tasks when travelling with sixty-one and sixty per cent, respectively, of respondents ranking them above email, checking the weather and social media.
Fear not! Just in time for your next trip, we’re introducing changes to make roaming even easier and more affordable:
- New U.S. Travel Packs. Fifty-four per cent of Canadian smartphone users consider access to voice, text and data equally important when purchasing a roaming package so we’ve added data to select packs while lowering the price points and increasing the bucket sizes.
- Coming soon: New International Travel Packs: We’ll soon introduce new simplified International Travel Packs that offer a lower price point, larger buckets and give you access to all three services – voice, SMS and data – bundled in one accessible package. These new Travel Packs will also provide notifications as you use data, so you can better manage your usage. Talk & Text only plans will continue to be available. Plan details and pricing will be announced in the coming weeks.
- More resources and tools available on TECH Essentials, a website packed with the information and tools you need to make informed decisions when travelling to the U.S. and overseas, including a data calculator to help estimate your usage.
Do you think you can just rely on Wi-Fi when you travel? If so, you’ll want to watch this video where we debunk some of the most common roaming myths.
Whether you’re travelling to score some sales or to visit family for the holidays, it’s hard not to worry about your home when you’re away.
For Rebecca Stanisic, also known as @BitofMomsense, Rogers Smart Home Monitoring reassured her that all was well at home while her family travelled this summer, visiting Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Windsor, Ont. Thanks to the app on her smartphone, she was able to check in on her home from the beach, see if a parcel was left on her stoop, and make sure the doors and windows were all secure.
“I love knowing a text, email and phone call will come if something happens, but we weren’t looking at the security of the house so much as the other utilities – the temperature, the camera and so on. It’s just that extra peace of mind that I love,” explains Rebecca, who is test-driving the system for a year. While she was in P.E.I. in July, Ottawa was hit by a heatwave, but Rebecca was able to adjust her air conditioning on the go.
The system has become part of their family routine, with the console in the kitchen letting them do everything from check the weather to arm their security system at night.
Rebecca says Smart Home Monitoring has also given her a sense of freedom. Impromptu weekend trips are easily planned “without worrying about anything. If there was an issue, we would have gotten notified.”
Do you protect your home when you go away on vacation or for a weekend?
Like many of you, I began Monday morning with a full list of things to do. A 45-minute commute, back-to-back meetings starting at 9 a.m., 85 unread emails in my inbox, a long list of articles to catch up on, and somehow I need to squeeze in time for a workout and to plan my annual ski trip.
Sound familiar? Our always-on, connected lifestyles mean our “to-do” lists never stop growing. While our work weeks get busier the lines between our jobs and personal lives are blurring more than ever.
In fact, the new Rogers Connected Workplace report commissioned by Harris Decima shows that more than half of us (60 per cent of Canadians) agree that flexible work hours and the ability to work from anywhere will be top priorities when we choose future employers.
The study also uncovered some surprising things about what we would give up for more flexibility. Over a third of Canadians would take a pay cut, trade in their benefits or give up vacation days for the ability to work from anywhere.
Technology has significantly changed our personal communications but most of our workplaces have been remarkably static. Many of us still work at a desktop computer from the same cubicle, in the same building every day. In the report, over half (60 per cent) of Canadians said they currently use a landline phone or desktop computer for work purposes. But when asked what devices they would like to use in the next five years, mobile devices such as laptops (40 per cent), tablets (15 percent) and smartphones (10 per cent) topped the list.
The workplace of the future is going to be less centralized, more mobile, and more flexible than anything most people outside the start-up have ever experienced.
To read more insights about Canada’s technology at work, visit our business blog here.
Or download the full Rogers Connected Workplace report by visiting Rogers on SlideShare.
What would you be willing to trade in exchange for flexible work hours or a mobile office?
We’ve never been shy about our passion for sports at Rogers. And this morning we have cemented our sports leadership with a landmark 12-year broadcast and multimedia agreement with the National Hockey League that includes national rights on all platforms in all languages. The agreement begins with the 2014/15 season and continues through the 2025/26 season.
The deal is big news for hockey fans and for Rogers customers. It includes national rights across TV broadcasts, internet and mobile streaming, as well as all linear and digital highlights including condensed games and video archives. On any given night, Rogers will provide multiple game coverage on up to nine TV channels (including City and Sportsnet) plus digital and radio.
And we’re going to partner with CBC for English-language broadcasts of Hockey Night in Canada and with TVA for all national French-language multimedia rights.
Here’s what people are saying about the deal:
“Sports content is a key strategic asset and we’ve been investing significantly to strengthen our sports offering to Canadians. Canadians are passionate about hockey, and through this landmark partnership with the NHL we’ll be able to bring hockey fans more games and more content on their platform of choice. We are proud to select CBC as our partner to carry on the Hockey Night in Canada tradition for Canadians. We are also excited about our long-standing sports alliance with TVA Sports and Quebecor, which will use its many channels and platforms to deliver French-language NHL coverage.” — Rogers president and CEO Nadir Mohamed
“Our fans always want to explore deeper and more emotional connections to NHL hockey, and that is precisely what Rogers has promised to deliver over the next 12 years – channeling the reach of its platforms and the intensity of its passion for the game into an unparalleled viewing experience.” — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman
“Our vision is to build on the NHL’s legacy in Canada with an emphasis on storytelling, innovation, and technology, weaving the NHL, its teams, and its stars even deeper into the fabric of Canadian culture.” — Keith Pelley, President, Rogers Media.